Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/139333

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Page 166 of 217

research spotlight THE MARKET KEY POINTS • Hitting an estimated $6.7 billion in 2012, the dry pasta, rice and noodles category has had an impressive performance, particularly from 2007 to 2008 with a 13.1 percent dollar sales increase during the recession, when consumers looked for affordable meals to cook at home. Mintel forecasts sales to hit $7.3 billion by 2017. • In natural retail channels, gluten-free pasta sales grew at nearly three times the rate of traditionally made pasta, earning a 41.3 percent segment share of 2012 pasta sales. • The drought of 2012 drove up prices of grains such as corn, wheat and soybeans, affecting traditional pasta made with wheat. But it opened the door for alternative grains and rice, such as rice noodles, heirloom rice and ancient grains. Understanding how to prepare these alternative items is a challenge, but providing sales, coupons, demos and recipes can be a powerful marketing strategy. • An increased interest in healthier eating continues to have a negative effect on rice mixes and pasta-based meal alternatives, particularly as governmental regulations continue to press more strict nutritional requirements. That said, most consumers regard shelf-stable products as valuable due to their ease and shortness of preparation time, with health not necessarily being a priority. • Gluten-free items in all segments helped boost sales. The allure of quinoa—which is both gluten-free and high in protein—also fostered growth. Mintel estimates that future growth will continue to be strong even for traditionally made wheat pastas, as consumers look for ways to improve the quality and/or distinctiveness of their food, seeking out new and different items and boosting sales of high-priced heirloom varieties of rice, quinoa, other grains and finished products made with these ingredients. TOP 10 CLAIMS ON DRY PASTA, RICE, NOODLES AND ANCIENT GRAINS Top 10 Claims Microwavable Kosher Time/speed Ease of use Ethical—environmentally friendly package No additives/preservatives Whole grain All-natural product Organic Low/no/reduced allergen 2008 207 130 133 69 2009 183 161 83 74 2010 289 222 163 157 2011 198 135 122 116 2012 176 130 98 92 % Change 2008–2012 -15.0 0.0 -26.3 33.3 36 85 72 71 79 42 91 78 74 63 98 76 155 135 101 106 85 84 128 93 80 96 60 82 92 70 69 54 44 56 155.6 -17.6 -4.2 -23.9 -44.3 33.3 Dry Pasta, Rice, Noodles and Ancient Grains, by Top Claims, 2008–2012 Source: Mintel GNPD Microwavable convenience remains a top claim even though it declined by 15 percent since 2008. Kosher and time/speed also remain important. Ease of use, low/no/reduced allergen and ethical/environmentally friendly packaging are the only claims that have increased overall from 2008 to 2012, the latter a whopping 156 percent. Whole-grain and wholesome claims have been declining, despite an increased consumer interest in a more healthful lifestyle. 150 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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